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New SGHS Board Members

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At the 2023 annual meeting SGHS welcomed two new board members. Dr. F. Todd Lasseigne and Jessica Russell. Since 2020 Todd has served as Executive Director of Bellingrath Home and Gardens, where he works to bring forward the legacy of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath at their renowned estate and gardens located on the Fowl River south of Mobile, Alabama. Prior to coming to Bellingrath, Todd was President and CEO of Tulsa Botanic Garden (Tulsa, Oklahoma), an institution he led for over nine years. Todd is a highly respected plantsman, horticulturist, and public garden leader.  He is widely recognized as a leading horticulture expert among nursery professionals and in the public garden world.  

Jessica Russell serves as director of the Eudora Welty House and Garden in Jackson, Mississippi. In April 2022, Russell received the SGHS Young Professional Grant for her work promoting the Welty Garden and supporting its ongoing preservation. When she first came to the garden in 2019 as garden projects specialist, she assisted then-garden conservator Susan Haltom, who led the garden’s historic restoration in the 1990s. Haltom taught Russell the garden’s plants, their stories, and their care, as well as the significance of SGHS. In 2020, Russell’s garden role expanded when Haltom retired. Now as Director, Russell is focusing on elevating the garden’s public profile, digitizing plant records, and strengthening key relationships with individual specimen enthusiasts, specialty nurseries, and research universities.

Lasseigne and Russell replace outgoing board members Ced Dolder and Kathleen Perilloux.

Two honorary board members were also recognized at the annual meeting: Susan Haltom of Jackson, Mississippi, and Gordon Chappell of Williamsburg, Virginia. Both have served the Society in various capacities, including president of SGHS.

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